Tae Woo Korean Restaurant – Singapore’s Best Jajangmyeon

Tae Woo Korean Restaurant  (태우반점)

Jajangmyeon, is a Korean dish well known by all. Before my trip to Seoul, little did I know that Jajangmyeon is not readily available in any Korean restaurant but only selling it in Chinese restaurant in Korea. It is kind of a fusion between Chinese and Korean dish. Jajangmyeon is one of the first Korean dishes that i’d known because it’s quite commonly found in Singapore. In this post, I’m writing about the best one that I had in Singapore. Tae Woo Korean Restaurant is situated at level 3 of The Central Clarke Quay, just above TCC. Tae Woo actually has quite a reputation among the Singapore Korean community due to it’s authentic Korean taste. This place is not crowded most of the time, but I’m bound to see Korean speaking patrons whenever I visit this place. There isn’t any hot stone rice, Korean BBQ and there’s also no Army Stew on their menu. What they are offering are more of a typical Chinese Korean menu like Jajangmyeon, Seafood Noodle (Jjamppong), Sweet and Sour Pork (Tangsuyuk) and Gyoja.

Menu: Click to enlarge

Jajangmyeon ($12.00++)

At $12.00, i consider this as reasonably priced. I really like the texture of their handmade noodle. It’s rather chewy, a little soft but not to the extend of soggy. The Jajang is not starchy and not overly watery but with just the right thickness that clings to every strand of noodle. The sweetness of their bean paste sauce mainly come from the cubes of meat and the onions, which is cooked till melty soft. The slight greasy Jajang is smooth and really enjoyable. For people that like it salty, you can stir in the separate plate of their Chunjang. Comparing to the Jajangmyeon that I had in Singapore, Taewoo’s is easily the best that i had and it is very very similar to the one in Seoul (read more about Andongjang, the oldest Korean Chinese restaurant in Seoul). Tangsuyuk ($26.00++)

Tangsuyuk is another very popular Chinese dish in Korea. It translate directly to Sweet & Vinegar Pork (糖醋肉). The idea is very similar to our Singapore’s sweet and sour pork, whereby pork is portioned into bite size, breaded and fried, and tossed in a sweet sour sauce. There’s no pineapple, but these stripes of pork is tossed into a mix of onion, carrot and black fungus and the sour taste mainly come from white vinegar. Unlike our Singapore style sweet sour pork, there is traces of ginger taste in the breading. It is quite good when it’s served and it’s a pity that the sweet vinegar sauce is a little too much and the crispy pork strips got soaked and became soggy after a while. I personally still think that cutting pork into cubes give a better texture than strips. For the price of $26 and for it’s portion, I would prefer our Singapore style sweet and sour pork. Japchae Bap ($17.00++)

Chapchae can be served as both main course and side dish. In this case, it’s served together with a portion of rice as Japchae Bap. It is freshly stir fried and served steaming hot. Apart from the usual ingredient carrot and onion, Taewoo’s version is a more luxurious version with added slices of pork, black fungus and green pepper. This Japchae is slightly peppery and is full of sesame oil fragrance. Unlike the side dish version of Japchae where it’s cold, drier with a bouncy texture, this is served hot, moist and soft. It also comes as a surprise as I didn’t realise that Japchae actually goes pretty well with white rice. I have no complain on this Japchae and in fact it’s pretty good! Conclusion

At a glance of the menu, i wouldn’t use the word affordable to describe the price tag of the dishes. Among them, their Jajangmyeon should be the most reasonably priced and sometimes I will visit Taewoo just for that when I’m having craving for some authentic Korean Jajangmyeon. Taewoo is a hidden gem at The Central and there’s not much crowd here and I like the fact that i can always get a table immediately. I wouldn’t recommend to start a feast at Taewoo as it might cost you a bomb. I do recommend their Jajangmyeon very much, and probably try out the other dishes, one new dish per visit.

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Andongjang – The Oldest Korean Chinese Restaurant in Seoul

Andongjang 安東莊 (안동장) 

Operating hours: Mon to Fri 11:30am to 9:30pm, Sat 11:30am to 9pm, Sun 11:30 am to 8 pm

English Address (Google Map) : 315-18 Euljiro 3(sam)-ga Jung-gu, Seoul‎

Korean Address (Naver Map): 서울특별시 중구 을지로3가 315-18

Click here for my full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Introduction

Jajangjyeon is the most popular Chinese-Korean dish among the Korean Crusines.

During my first visit to Seoul, I was quite perturbed that I did not spot a single Korean Restaurant selling Jajangmyeon and I was like ‘What? I thought Jajangmyeon is the most common Korean dishes around?”

I later come to realise that Jajangmyeon is actually not readily available in most Korean restaurants. It’s mostly found in the Chinese restaurants in Korea. And Andongjang, is one of such Chinese Restaurants in Seoul.

Andongjang is the oldest Chinese Restaurants in Seoul. It had had been around for 65 years and their history started way back to year 1948. Andongjang specialised in two kinds of noodles –  Guljjamppong (spicy noodle soup with oysters), and Jajangmyeon, which I only tried the later.

Click to enlarge Chinese menu

Jajanmyeon 炸醬麵 (자장면)

In Singapore, Jajangmyeon can be found in many eateries , but it’s not easy to find a good one. I had one really good Jajangmyeon at The Central and till date, that is the best one that i ever had in Singapore, and I am dying to find out how does it compare with a true blue Korea’s version.

I ordered the Jajangmyeon at w$5000 (about S$6.00) and that is really affordable comparing to Singapore’ s price.

Jajangmyeon is always served with radish (Danmuji 단무지), sliced raw onion and accompanied with a small plate of Chunjang (춘장) sauce. Chunjang is the raw dark soybean paste which is made from roasted soy beans and a little bit of caramel while Jajang is the stir-fried version of Chunjang that contains all other ingredients like onion, ground meat, carrot and potato.

All noodles were handmade and the texture of the noodle is chewy, mid-soft but not soggy. The thick Jajang sauce stick and coated the noodle evenly as i was stirring the noodle with much anticipation. The Jajang is really flavourful and i can taste the bursting sweetness of the melted onion and carrot.

The only small problem is – it’s not salty enough. I was a little disappointed initially until i realized why a separate plate of Chunjang is served. The taste is right back on track after mixing in the small plate of Chunjang. I guess it’s provided so that diners can flavor the noodle to their own taste preference.

And how does a true blue Jajangmyeon compare to the one i had in The Central? It is comparable, and in fact very similar in taste. This further convinced me that the Jajangmyeong i had in The Central is to a certain quality, but only at 2.5 times the price. LOL.

Tangsuyuk  糖醋肉 (탕수육)

Tangsuyuk, or  Korean version of sweet and sour pork is another popular Korean Chinese dish. This dish consist of a pile of battered, crispy fried pork strips in a sweet, apple & vinegar based sauce. Unlike our Singapore’s version, there is a tinge of ginger taste in the batter and it taste less sweet and more sour than our Sweet and Sour Pork.

Andongjang’s version is really crispy and is able to retain it’s crispness despite being soaked in a pool of sweet and sour sauce. A small serving cost me W$14000 (about S$16) but it’s still almost half the price compare to Singapore. A small serving is well enough for two pax to enjoy.

To be frank, i still prefer our Singapore’s Gou Lou Yok (Sweet and Sour Pork in Cantonese) as the texture is slightly more enjoyable in cubes rather than in strips. But for Korean Drama/Variety fans out there, how can you not try this Tangsuyuk? It’s always featured in those shows and it looks absolutely mouth watering.

Putting Singapore’s version of sweet and sour pork aside, i enjoyed this Tangsuyuk a lot and don’t mind having this again if there is a chance.

Conclusion

So the question is – the older the restaurant, the better the taste? Not always i would say, but so far this theory was proven right for Seoul, be it the rice cake from Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki (operates for 60 years) or the boiled chicken soup from Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmar (operates for 35 years), they did not disappoint. This theory was proven right again by Andongjang (operates for 65 years).

How can one not eat Jajangmyeon while he is in Seoul? If you want to have a good bowl of Jajangmyeon in Seoul, you may want to consider visiting Andongjang. And the best part? It’s super super accessible and easy to find.

Click here for full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Reach Andongjang at 8.30pm

Directions and Map

Andongjang is super accessible. The direction is super straight foward and there is no need to make any turn at all.

1. Just take a MRT to Euljiro-3-Ga and come out from Exit 10

2. Walk straight along the main road for about 50 meters or less and you will see Andongjang

3. Tada~ there you are!